Advertising is a very important part of the marketing strategy of a firm. Whether it is television commercials or print advertisements or displays on kiosks on the streets, advertising in any form is a means used by the company to introduce its products/services to potential customers.
Another very important function of advertising is to build the "brand value" of a company. If you look carefully, you will see that every big multinational has a public face, a quality by which it is known in the market. This public face is given to a business, through advertising.
As you can see, there are so many advantages of advertising, that's why, for any given business, it would be ideal if this marketing strategy is planned by professionals who specialize in this field i.e. instead of having an in-house advertising team, businesses should hire the services of an advertising agency.
Selecting an Advertising Agency
Whether you are a new business or an old one, there are some things that you should always keep in mind, while choosing an advertising agency. The given stepwise procedure on how to hire an advertising agency, will surely help you out.
Begin Your Search
Start hunting for ad agencies, by making a list of the ones who have done quite well in the industry that your business is in. Online catalogs, trade publications, former colleagues - these are some resources to find advertising agencies.
Once you have the list with you, check the websites of these firms. Look at the kind of work that they have done in the past and whether it aligns with what you expect from an advertising agency for your business.
Now, make a second list of advertising firms which you find suitable, out of the ones that you selected before. By the end of this exercise, you should have a list of about five-six agencies to choose from.
Arrange for a Meeting
Get in touch with the advertising agencies that you have finalized and arrange for a meeting with them. Use these meetings as an opportunity to assess how good they are at their work.
Agencies will most probably bring their past assignments with them and make a "pitch" so that you hire them. Here, be very careful while going through their work so that you have a fairly good idea of what all you can expect from them.
- During the meeting, ask for people who will be dealing with your account, the experience they have in the field, their past work, etc. More than how the agency is, you should be concerned with how these professionals work.
- Meet up with the executives who would be handling your account and have a talk with them. Hire the agency only if you feel that the executives are open to taking your inputs and you share a connect.
- Take references from the advertising agency. Call up a few of their previous clients, to get an idea of how the agency contributed to their client's profits.
- An important thing to consider is whether to hire a big or small agency? Both have their pluses and minuses. For instance, a big agency has more experience but may not be able to give you attention, especially if you are a small business. On the other hand, a small agency might be a bit inexperienced! So, weigh all the pros and cons and see what suits you.
- During the meeting, tell the professionals from the advertising agency about your target customers, advertising budget and the things that you expect to achieve through advertising. Give them a few days time to come up with a "dummy" strategy to achieve your business goals. By doing this, you get to select the agency which impresses you the most.
- If possible, have one meeting at the agency's office. This will give you a better idea of how they function.
Take the Final Decision
Your final decision should be based on the "dummy" strategies that various ad agencies come up with. Through their presentation, you will have a good idea of their creative process. See, whether the strategies have been formulated to impress or to help your business make profits.
Also, if you like a particular agency's work, ask them whether the people who worked on it are the same who would work on your account. In the end, before finalizing the agreement, check how the agency charges, whether it takes commission or a fixed fee. Negotiate on the fees as this too is an important criteria for selection.
Once you have chosen an advertising agency, keep a track of how it works, whether it meets the deadlines and delivers what it promises. Be involved when the advertising strategies are formulated and do not leave everything solely on the advertising firm. Take initiative and ensure that the agency works actively on your account!